- D.J. Caruso
- Reviewed by
- Josť Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Monday, April 30, 2007
When Kale (Shia LaBeouf) loses his father he goes into rebellious mode, going as far as punching his Spanish teacher and getting sentenced to three months of house arrest. With nothing else to do, he grows a knack for watching his neighbors, falling in love with beautiful Ashley (Sarah Roemer) and suspecting that creepy Mr. Turner (David Morse) is a serial killer.
Hit-and-miss director D.J. Caruso worked from a script by Christopher Landon and Carl Ellsworth. Anyone with knowledge of movies will certainly think of Alfred Hitchcockís Rear Window (1954) at least once while watching this similarly-themed flick that takes some references from it but that is its own breed. For two-thirds it works as a better-than-average thriller with compelling characters, intriguing situations and a fitting pace. But then the movie decides to turn into a slasher romp and thatís when everything goes down the toilet. It is a change so abrupt I couldnít believe the filmmakers were throwing everything away for a by-the-numbers climax. But they did, and itís a pity.
That said, when the movie works it provides a lot of solid entertainment. It opens with one of the most visceral accidents ever committed to celluloid, easily the best sequence in the movie. It then moves forward in time and slowly develops its characters as Kale starts to show interest in the soap operas taking place every day around his house. The approach to voyeurism is not deeply dealt with, but this isnít an existential drama. The way Kale gradually changes, without ever going over-board, is presented in credible fashion. Actually I was amazed at how well-written his character is; I know people who are just like him and he feels impressively natural. Tension builds as he gets more immersed in sordid affairs and the cat-and-mouse game with his supposedly evil neighbor is consistently fun to watch.
Actor Shia LaBeouf, widely considered to be the next big thing, is actually excellent in the lead role and shows why so many people are trusting him with bigger projects. He has charisma, focus and an approachable quality to him that makes him especially endearing. David Morse is in full-creep mode and even though his work is good maybe a different choice of actor wouldíve served the movie better. Supporting players Sarah Roemer, Viola Davis and Carrie-Anne Moss (in a small role as Kaleís mother) are good.
By the way... great title!
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